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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Question Can the Dominant Estate Compel Removal of a Gate from a Right of Way

    My question involves an easement in the state of:Pennsylvania. We purchased a property in Pa which we later found out has an easement on our property. The neighbor who uses the easement wants us to remove the gate that's infront of our property.. Mind you the gate was present before the neighbor & myself bought the property. Do we have to remove the gate? We close it , but its never locked. We don't live there yet & prefer to keep our property safe. And can we put another gate up at the end of our driveway?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    1,988

    Default Re: Easements in Regards to Existing Gate

    depends on the wording of the easement grant and how much both you and your neighbor are willing to fight over the matter.

    what does the easement grant say?

  3. #3
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Easements in Regards to Existing Gate

    While the granting language is important it does not negate the historic implications of the gate. You as the servient estate cannot impede the use of the easement. But if that gate has been there you don't have to remove it.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2014
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    Default Re: Easements in Regards to Existing Gate

    The Easement states that the neighbor has perpetual, irrevocable rights and easement over all that certain strip of land, 25' wide & 430' long. The driveway is 10' when we both purchased it. The existing gate in front is also surrounded by a front fence to either side. The road is raised & sloped on both sides. Can we put a fence up along the road since it is not useable for foot or vehicle traffic? The road couldn't be widened due to the existing width of the gate. I would like to mention our neighbor is not landlocked he is well capable of putting his own driveway in. We even offered to help him with such.

  5. #5
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Easements in Regards to Existing Gate

    The dominant estate has the right to use the entire 25' wide easement even though the driveway is only 10' wide if they so choose. You can put up any fence you like as long as it does not encroach on the easement (25 feet) and does not impede the use of the easement. The fact that the gate is only 10' wide doesn't mean the road couldn't be widened to 25' if that is what the dominant estate wants to do.

  6. #6
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    Nov 2014
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    Default Re: Easements in Regards to Existing Gate

    If the neighbor wants to widen the driveway, who is responsible for storm water management & increased impervious surface area? Wouldn't a permit be required in order to widen a driveway?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Are you basting your info on Pennsylvania law? And if so, I appreciate your help.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Easements in Regards to Existing Gate

    The law governing the use of the easement is according to PA law. The issue of permits to widen the driveway or impervious surfaces would be governed by your town or city zoning and building ordinances. Since I don't know where this is I can't comment on what permits might be necessary or if the improvements would violate any non-permeable percentages of the lot area.

    The language does not say it is an exclusive use easement which means that you get to use the property also. If the dominant estate wants to make improvements, they cannot cause damage to your property and must do it according to regulations of your town/city.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2014
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    Default Re: Easements in Regards to Existing Gate

    The property is located in Tinicum Township , Pennsylvania. I appreciate your help.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Easements in Regards to Existing Gate

    I now see that there are two Tinicum Townships in PA, one in Bucks and one in Delaware. This information is from Bucks.

    Here is the website of Tinicum. The links on the left of the page will take you to the permit requirements and the zoning ordinances.

    The performance standards for a shared driveway as an example:

    1.60B.G. Farm Roads: Shared Driveways.

    1. Where feasible, old farm roads and country lanes should be retained and reused instead of
    constructing new driveways (unless needed Widening of the lane would destroy mature trees or
    historic.features).

    2. Shared driveways are encouraged, although each lot shall still maintain the required frontage on
    a street where this does not result in odd lot configurations and/or the reduction of common open
    space.

    3. Construction. The Board of Supervisors may allow low volume private shared driveways, each
    serving a maximum of 3 dwelling units [*maximum number should be dependent upon benefits
    provided and the specific site requirements], to be constructed of gravel to maintain a rural
    appearance. The following construction standards shall apply to shared driveways unless
    alternative standards are accepted by the Board of Supervisors:

    a. minimum cartway width - 10 feet, which shall be crowned
    b. constructed of 5 inches of 2A modified and 3 inches of screening or other compatible material,
    c. maximum slope - 12 percent, except 4 percent within 20 feet of the right-of-way of a public
    street,
    d. minimum centerline curve radius - 40 feet, and
    e. with appropriate drainage measures.

    4. A shared driveway or private street, shall only be permitted if the developer establishes a legally
    binding mechanism to require owners of lots served by such driveway and/or private street to
    fund adequate maintenance in pre-determined proportions. Such mechanism shall be subject to
    approval by the Township Solicitor.
    If changes are going to be made, they will most likely have to meet the current zoning. However, your best option is to speak with the building/zoning officials.

    The permit application for a driveway references Ordinance 161 and Resolution #06.15.04.01 They can be found on page 347 of the zoning book pdf file.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: Easements in Regards to Existing Gate

    just a small addition:

    if the gate is 10' wide and the dominant tenant has trouble negotiating the narrow gate due to vehicles now being larger than historically or inclement weather causes the narrow gate to become a danger, he could rightfully petition to have the gate enlarged or, if you nor he wishes to have a gate there, removed in its entirety.

    That would all be based on the impediment budwad spoke of.



    as to you placing a gate elsewhere;

    most likely you can but if it is done as a means of harassment, don't do it. I don't know the lay out of the drive so I cannot say if an additional gate might be considered as such. If the neighbor is not affected by the gate, by all means, put as many gates as you wish. If you are speaking of where the easement ends as it enters the neighboring property; is there a purpose? Is the rest of your property line fenced? If it simply completes an otherwise fenced border, I wouldn't see a problem with it. If the border is not otherwise fenced, it would seem to be more of a spite gate (fence) issue and may be seen as a form of harassment.

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